This interview is part of our new AI in Agriculture series, where we interview the world's top thought leaders on the front lines of the intersections between AI and agriculture.
In this interview, we speak with Thiago Camargo, Director of SpecLab, to understand how his company is using AI to transform agriculture, and what the future of agriculture holds.
1. What’s the story behind SpecLab? Why and how did you begin?
TC: SpecLab is a Brazilian technology company that develops innovative solutions in analytical chemistry, combining spectral techniques, big data and artificial intelligence to promote connectivity for analysis and more intelligence for business.
The company emerged from a spin-off of a spectral technology for soil fertility analysis developed in cooperation between IBRA, the largest agronomic laboratory in Latin America, and the Brazilian Agricultural Research Corporation (EMBRAPA), which is a state-owned research corporation affiliated with the Brazilian Ministry of Agriculture and publisher of Official Methods for Soil Analysis in Brazil.
2. Please describe your use case and how SpecLab uses artificial intelligence:
TC: SpecLab believes that modern analytical chemistry can bring positive changes to the business. We are proposing the migration of target and univariate techniques, slow and costly, for a comprehensive, fast, connected and intelligent chemical analyzes.
In this context, we use artificial intelligence to develop sampling methods, to optimize models, to study scenarios, as well as to connect results to the complex system of market information.
SpecLab seeks the knowledge of the Chemistry of Things through chemical fingerprint techniques, extracting information from complex systems and using this information to recommend practices for better product quality and process efficiency. At SpecLab, hardware and software development is a way to obtain fast and connected information that will positively change markets.
3. Could you share a specific customer/user that benefits from what you offer? What has SpecLab done for them?
TC: SpecSolo is an innovation in soil fertility analysis by spectral sensors that was accredited according to international standard ISO 17025 and it is in operation in an agronomic laboratory in Brazil, bringing agility, safety and connectivity to analysis without the use of chemical reagents that are harmful to the environment.
SpecFUEL is a portable solution for real-time fuel conformity analysis, that is being used at fuel terminals of RAÍZEN, the world's largest producer of sugar and alcohol. The technology, initially calibrated for quantification of methanol in ethanol, presents equivalent results to the reference method by chromatography. In addition, it allows the construction of a database of fuel-compliance intelligence, bringing analytical connectivity and more intelligence to the business.